A's Clinch, Browns Win, Rams-Chargers Play
September 24, 2018

Ten notes and observations from the last week in sports...

A's clinch post-season berth: The Oakland A's can still win the American League West, but they are in the playoffs. Earlier today, the Tampa Bay Rays lost to the New York Yankees 4-1, which guaranteed the A's a wild card berth. Oakland then went out and beat Seattle 7-4. The A's still trail Houston by 4˝ games in the division, and could be eliminated from that race tomorrow with an Astros win and an Oakland loss. Boston and Cleveland have clinched the other division titles, and the Yankees will be a wild card, although they only lead the A's by 1˝ games for home field advantage.

Stay tuned: The wildly mediocre National League may come down to Sunday, and maybe even beyond. The Atlanta Braves have clinched the NL East, but other than that, nothing has been settled. The Cubs and Dodgers lead their respective divisions, Milwaukee looks to be a wild card but can still win the Central, and the Colorado Rockies won tonight, meaning they are only a half-game behind St. Louis for the second wild card, and still a game-and-a-half behind the Dodgers in the West.

Bring on the Braves?: If Dodger fans aren't familiar with guys like Ronald Acuna, Junior and Ozzie Albies, they will be soon. It appears the Dodgers will face Atlanta in the playoffs, if they hold on to win the west. It's also still possible LA can host that series. The Dodgers are only a half-game behind Atlanta, and hold the tie-breaker.

Slithering down: This note from the Arizona-Colorado broadcast on TBS Sunday (and updated). Since August 23, the Arizona Diamondbacks are 8-22—the worst record in the National League. The Dodgers in that time are 21-8 and the Rockies are 16-13. The Arizona mark is the worst in baseball and the Dodgers record is the best. Los Angeles was 4˝ games behind Arizona that morning. The Diamondbacks were eliminated from the post season on Sunday.

Seattle slide: The Seattle Mariners, who were contending for most of the season, are 16-20 since Robinson Cano returned from an 80-game suspension for performance enhancing drugs.

Party time in Cleveland: Thursday night, the Boston Red Sox beat the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium to clinch the American League East. A champagne celebration ensued, but for fan reaction, there's nothing like what happened less than an hour later. In Cleveland, the Browns defeated the New York Jets 21-17—their first win in 635 days. It was Christmas Eve, 2016 when they had their previous win, and went 0-18-1 since, with an opening weekend tie this season.

The 'No one cares' battle of LA: For the first time since the two-decade absence of professional football in the nation's second largest city, the Los Angeles Rams and the Los Angeles Chargers faced each other, but not only did fans in the city not seem to care, the league didn't either. The game (on CBS) was only shown in southern California, as if the NFL was almost embarrassed that it had to take place. The announced crowd was 68,947 at the Coliseum, but that building's other tenant, the USC Trojans, has been drawing more than the Rams and Chargers combined. The two teams won't play each other again until 2022, when the new stadium, under construction in Inglewood, is three years old. Oh, the Rams won 35-23.

Start times: It seems like the NFL has an 'I don't give a (darn)' attitude about their scheduling anymore, or maybe it's just getting too hard. As recently as two years ago (maybe three), you would never have the Oakland Raiders and the San Francisco 49ers playing at the same time. This would also be true for the Jets and Giants in New York, and perhaps the third two-team market in Los Angeles with the Rams and Chargers makes it too difficult. Last week, the Niners and Raiders both had 1pm starts. This weekend, they were both back east for 10am kickoffs, and next week, they'll both be back on the west coast and start at 1. Maybe the league is treating the Raiders like they've already moved to Vegas.

More scheduling: This doesn't happen every year, but it wasn't an accident. Major League Baseball finishes its regular season this weekend with its biggest rivals playing each other. The Yankees are at the Red Sox, the Cardinals are at the Cubs, and the Dodgers visit the Giants.

Low ratings: A week ago tonight were the Emmy Awards. I didn't know they were on until that day, then promptly forgot about it and didn't watch. I wasn't the only one, however. Perhaps due to Monday Night Football, the awards were reportedly the least watched ever. Saturday Night Live's Colin Jost and Michael Che were the hosts, and I still would have liked to check it out.

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